Founded in 1866, shortly after the end of the Civil War, Fisk University was named in honor of General Clinton B. Fisk of the Tennessee Freedmen’s Bureau and established as the oldest institution of higher learning in Nashville, Tennessee. In October 1871, a group of traveling Fisk students known as the Jubilee Singers, set out to use their music to raise enough money to keep open the doors of their debt-ridden school. Their success eventually led to the building of Jubilee Hall, the South’s first permanent structure for the education of Black students, built on campus in 1876. As a designated National Historical Landmark, today, Jubilee Hall remains the dramatic focal point of Fisk’s campus.
A school of many firsts, Fisk became the first African-American institution to gain accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools in 1930, and the first such institution to be placed on the approved lists of the Association of American Universities (1933) and the American Association of University Women (1948). In February, 1978, the Fisk campus was designated as a National Historic District in recognition of its architectural, historic, and cultural significance. Since its inception over 150 years ago, Fisk University’s faculty and administrators have emphasized the discovery and advancement of knowledge through research to produce graduates from diverse backgrounds with the integrity and intellect required for substantive contributions to society.
Notable Alumni Include: social critic and co-founder of the NAACP W.E.B. Dubois; educator and founder of Tuskegee University, Booker T. Washington; and journalist Ida B. Wells-Barnett.